Behind the headlines

The backlog of health and social care staff checks carried out
by the Criminal Records Bureau has gone from bad to worse now the
CRB has been told to prioritise teachers. The instruction followed
the murders of 10-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, in
connection with which teaching assistant Maxine Carr has been
charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. College
caretaker Ian Huntley has been charged with the girls’

Checks on all 22,000 teachers on the CRB’s register had to be
carried out in less than a fortnight, in time for the start of the
school year. Before this development a Community Care web
poll found the work of 88 per cent of respondents in the social
care field had already been adversely affected by CRB delays. Frank
Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home Association,
said prioritising education was bound to have a knock-on effect for
social care staff. He had carried out a straw poll which showed the
average care home needed to check about three employees every two
months, resulting in up to 40,000 checks a month.

Bill Badham, programme manager, Children’s Society
“The Criminal Records Bureau is a vital development for
the protection of children, long awaited and much needed. Delays in
getting the bureau up and running have caused much concern among
professionals and have been made worse by political populism. The
bureau now says it has adequate staffing to cover demand. And about
time, too.”

Martin Green, chief executive, Counsel and Care for the
“The backlog at the Criminal Records Bureau is yet another
example of the problems that can be caused by knee-jerk reactions
to issues. It is time politicians learned that media soundbites, or
despatch box statements, are a long way from delivering a service.
For agencies such as the bureau to work effectively, they need
proper planning time as well as resources.”

Karen Warwick, senior practitioner, Barnardo’s
“Knee-jerk responses once again, but how else could the
Criminal Records Bureau respond? Thousands of checks unprocessed in
the system, school due to start back and a school caretaker charged
with murder. Not a good combination. I sense another moral panic
looming, but the response of the bureau may just assist in
diverting it.”

Julia Ross, executive director of health and social
care, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
“This sort of panic reaction is understandable because of
the issue of public confidence. But it is curious that we never
seem to have a similar outpouring of resources when there is a
major social services problem. We know that there were already
considerable difficulties in getting a rapid response from the CRB
for social workers. The fast-tracking of teachers will only
exacerbate an already extremely problematic situation for social
care. Unfortunately, it will lead to big delays, and we should call
for this to be monitored urgently or it will take us months to
employ new social workers and care workers. And that’s completely

Phil Frampton, national chairperson, Care Leavers
“J was in the children’s home with me. A carer sexually
abused her. She lost it and was soon after locked away for stealing
clothes off a washing line. Since then, she has never left the
criminal justice system. For more than 20 years she has been in
Rampton and sits now with Ian Huntley. The government took 30 years
to act decisively over care but 30 hours to produce a knee-jerk
reaction to the alleged actions of a school member of staff. And
for what? Image. Meanwhile, those in care and most vulnerable to
abuse are left with unchecked staff, and schools are left with
untaught pupils.”

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.